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Send Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps! Now.

This petition had 10,853 supporters


Please take a moment to sign my petition and tell the Governor of Louisiana and the President of the University of Louisiana System to send Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps. Now.

Hercules and Leo are two young chimpanzees being warehoused at the New Iberia Research Center in New Iberia, Louisiana. I first heard about the pair when they made international news last year after a New York judge ordered Stony Brook University to appear and justify its imprisonment of them following a habeas corpus lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project. At that time Hercules and Leo had been imprisoned in a cage in the basement of a university building for six years. Their muscles were sliced by wires and they were forced to undergo frequent general anesthesia, all in order to satisfy the curiosity of an anatomy professor as to how humans evolved to walk straight-legged.

Save the Chimps, a premiere chimpanzee sanctuary in South Florida, has generously offered to take care of Hercules and Leo for the rest of their lives at a projected cost of over $2,000,000. At this chimpanzee sanctuary, Hercules and Leo would live lives of freedom as close to normal as possible in North America, on an island with two dozen other chimpanzees. But the New Iberia Research Center refused the offer, instead spiriting Hercules and Leo out of the jurisdiction of the New York courts while their New York court appeal was pending and bringing them to Louisiana. Please sign my petition and tell the Governor of Louisiana and the President of the University of Louisiana System to send Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps now.

The Nonhuman Rights Project immediately began a public campaign to send Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps. Jane Goodall, one of the world’s most well-known primate experts, said this about the campaign: "I have followed the sad lives of both Hercules and Leo to date, and I urge New Iberia to allow them to retire and live out the remainder of their lives with dignity. They have suffered long enough, and there can be no excuse for prolonging their lives of servitude."

However, New Iberia—for no good reason—refuses to allow Hercules and Leo to go to Save the Chimps. New Iberia imprisons approximately 230 chimpanzees and is among the largest primate research facilities in the country. It is an awful place for primates to be forced to live: New Iberia has been prosecuted by the USDA for over a dozen Animal Welfare Act violations over the last decade, and has paid almost $60,000 in fines. New Iberia ignores the growing trend among American research facilities to release chimpanzees to sanctuaries. Meanwhile, Louisiana taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars at a time of critical state budget shortfalls.

Please, let’s demand that New Iberia do the right thing by Hercules and Leo: Tell the Governor and University of Louisiana System President to move Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps. Now.



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